Review of The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles

Monday, November 12, 2012 0 comments
Title of Book: The Hot Floor
Author: Josephine Myles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing 
Length: Novel, about 170 pages.
Primary Relationship(s): Evan/Rai, Josh/Evan/Rai
Category or Genre: “contemporary menage erotic romance”
Does this Review contain spoilers?: Yes.
Did you own this already, or was a review copy provided to you? How was it provided, if so? Copy provided by author for review.

Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter has gotten used to expecting the worst. Now he lives only for his job as a glassblower…and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.

The Hot Floor stars lonely Josh, glassblower, who’s never had much luck in love, or so it seems. He’s a bit of a wallflower, having been told by his ex (via text no less!) that he blows in bed, and not in the good way.

Insecure, unsure, and desperate, he gets his rocks off listening to his hot neighbours get it on, and painting the toenails of his BFF Denise until one day....

Rai Nakamura is small and devious. He’s working on his thesis project (economics, Tobin tax! Saving the world via good banking!), and that right there could have been an awful stereotype. Fortunately, Jo saves it by making him an absolute car boot-sale fiend and careful cultivator of spider-plants.

Rai’s boyfriend, Evan Truman is a 6’ something hunk of plumbing wizard, moved down from the north, likes to wear leather and drives a van. Every relationship needs a keel - to borrow a phrase - and Evan is the keel in this relationship it seems. Exterior aside, Evan’s a big softie on the inside. As Josh is soon to find out (Insert droll laughing here).

Somewhere in the middle, Josh Carpenter fits quite well.

I quite enjoyed this book. Jo is a bit of a master at coming up with quirky and fun characters. Aside from shy and blushing (but tall and built!) Josh, she’s come up with a whole menagerie of neighbours to surround her main man with. Aside from the main three, Josh, Rai and Evan - all very different, all very much their own people - and Denise, there’s also Josh’s bosses Liam and Shannon, a failed-attempted one night stand Dylan, and Josh’s other neighbours stoner Vern, and elderly (and devious) Stella. And rarely seen or heard Cliff. *phew* So, quite a few characters!

And of course the building itself! I like the setup of all these people living in the same decrepit place. Not only does it save a lot of exposition-time having to get from one place to another, but the building itself serves as a less than reluctant matchmaker and getting our main trio together is done in a snap!

Or with a bang? Readers can decide for themselves!

Jo Myles writes with a quick and witty style. She describes places and things easily - if you’re anything like me you’ll end up quaking in your slippers at the horror of too many macrame plant hangers and possibly checking the stove once or twice to make sure it’s off (!) - and quiet evenings in playing good old board games.

From prior novels of hers, I know she isn’t afraid to give her characters accents and dialects without it being overbearing or incomprehensible. Always a good thing! Dialogue is snappy, problems get resolved and clues are left throughout the story to be picked up later, enough that I wasn’t frustrated by a constant stop and go.

Jo also lets things take their time. By the time our intrepid trio gets together I was fairly ready for something, anything to happen. At just the right time, it was pretty sweet when it did. The sex is slow, three guys trying to work out the mechanics can be both hot and funny as Jo proves, and as the blurb states there were some uh new methods of rubbing off. Or in. Armpits? Indeed!

Throughout the rest of the novel we follow Josh trying to settle into this new relationship while battling with the insecurities left by his ex, insecurities of being the new kid in an already settled duo, and a fairly chronic case of shyness. It doesn’t help that Rai is incredibly outspoken and everyone else seems to delight in poor Josh’s blushes. However, Rai and Evan both set out to change that, slowly and carefully, and with a bit of kinky sex and self-discovery!

In spite of Josh’s insecurities, there isn’t a lot of tension in this story. Most of it comes from Josh himself. The HotFloor is a romance, and stays a romance throughout. And once Josh gets a good smack with the proverbial, we’re right back on course!

If I have to mention any cons it’s that sometimes the dialogue between our main trio can get a bit expositional, discussing and asking if they’re okay with this or that. And while all the characters are lovely, they border on too many. One character in particular I could have done without, but then again he endeared himself in the end.

However, none of these things spoiled the book and I enjoyed this lighthearted tale of will-they-won’t-they? My favourite scenes were of course the bathroom incident, and the sex. I also loved Josh spending time with Denise and Stella, and was a bit sad Stella didn’t get more time, but then again it’s not her book. Even though she did steal quite a few scenes.

If you enjoy your romance without too much tension, quirky and varied characters, board-games and car-boot sales, this is probably the romance novel for you. Or if you just need some cheering up on a lonely autumn day or wonder where on earth the title itself came from...!

You can read an excerpt of the novel at Jo’s webpage:

Reviewed by Madison Reese, M/M writer and reader, non-fiction nut. (Blog | Twitter | Goodreads)


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